‘Despite the outside misconceptions, this is an extremely wealthy part of the world, with some $3,000 million of liquidity in the regional economy, surpluses of cash crops, under-exploited major reserves of oil and gas and a very pragmatic people who for a long time have been driven by cross-border trade,’ says Douglas Mellor, chief executive officer of the Kurdistan Development Corporation, a public-private partnership which was set up in September to promote foreign investment in the region. ‘Their vision for Iraq is simple: an entrepreneurial future in which internal borders are open for trade. There is no intention to retreat and become a mountain kingdom. Regional development is the only prerequisite for stability in Iraq, and once the regional economies start to develop you’ll see the tension start to boil off. The only other alternative is to centralise the economy, but if you do that you’ll need a new Saddam back in power to run it.’